Controllerless Networks

Frequent Contributor II

Real world IAP network sizes



I'm trying to create a policy for our company which helps decide when we should use IAP's or when we need a controller.


Whilst I understand that for some things, only a controller will do, at many of our locations, the IAP's give us all the functionality we need.


I must admit, I'm a little nervous of using IAP's on a large network, and whilst I understand that the MAX IAP limit has been removed, I'd be interested to hear of any real-world experiences of people using IAP's on networks with say, in excess of 30-40 AP's.


Any feedback would be appreciated.





Aruba Employee

Re: Real world IAP network sizes



My understanding is that the eventual limitation is more on the number of concurrent devices that can be handled on one WLAN profile. It is more a matter of setting up a realistic subnet size that will support, as an example a maximum of 250 concurrent devices on a /24 subnet. Remember, broadcasts are sent at the lowest authorized speed and this is usually what kills the Wireless LAN network and why VLAN Pooling is a desired feature in large scale environements. I read on a previous post that there will be an upcoming broadcast filter on iAP coming soon... This may help scaling this technology up to a /23 subnet...


Personnally, the maximum I have the iAP setup now is a cluster of 12 iAP-105 working together with one user back-end VLAN with a subnet size of /24 allowing concurrent 250 devices. The maximum number of concurrent users I observed on this environment is slightly above 50 so far...


Best regards,

Paul Gallant. Eng.
Contributor II

Re: Real world IAP network sizes

In our enterprise environment we have found using controllers is almost always the best way to go. It gives us one version of code, one config to manage, one troubleshooting doc for each situation, and one thing for the support tiers to learn.


Saving a bit of money on hardware is good, unless you are going to have to increase training and support costs.


We still do have a few IAPs deployed, but the controller always seems like a good way to go.

Re: Real world IAP network sizes

This is an interesting topic...

I have ask this question but with no answer...

The thing is that i would like to know the recommended limit users in one vlan with instatn APs with some features on.

For example now they support broadcast and multicast filtering... like you said it may let you scale to /23 but is recommended by aruba? what does aruba recommened in this matter? i have no idea...  The thing is that we would not want to test this witha client... thats why im asking.


It would be really nice that someone of aruba could give us their opinion about this... i mean it is really important for us to know the recommendation of aruba in this matter... for example i got many cases in which the possible client find the controller based too expensive but stilll have over 700 users now can i go with instatn with them? well i dont know if with broadcast and multicast drop feature will be enough  to maintein the performance of the network in a good shape.


Now i have though that if the client is using 802.1x i could be using vlan user feature... in which it will dynamically place the user  in a vlan depending on which group he is.  This will let me create different groups in AD and let me have small subnets of /24 this way... but now is this is recommeneded? well no idea...


a VRD for instant will be really useful :)

Actually all VRD are really useful as they let know what aruba recommends which is really important matter! it would be nice to have a VRD of instant!

Product Manager - Aruba Networks
Alternetworks Corp
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